(Top 13 Reasons) Why My Magnolia Tree Not Thriving

Are you worrying about Why My Magnolia Tree Not Thriving? Magnolia trees range in height from 2 meters (6.5 feet) to 5 meters (15 feet) (6 feet).

Consequently, depending on the type, they make fantastic showcase trees as well as filler trees. I’ll describe what to do if a magnolia tree isn’t doing well.

Magnolias can’t grow because of the temperature, bugs, overwatering, inadequate sunshine, as well as soil having the wrong pH. Make sure the soil has a pH of 5.0 to 6.0, add compost and fertilizer, move the magnolia out of full shadow, water once per week, and use neem oil to control pests in order to revive it.

It’s interesting to note that some magnolias do not develop at all in the fall and winter since they remain dormant. The absence of any or very little spring/summer development on a magnolia, consequently, is a clear sign that there is a crisis.

Before we start looking on the reasons why Magnolia Tree Not Thriving, its important to understand its growing life cycle seasons.

Blooming Season
Take Cutting

In the sections that follow, I’ll outline the signs to watch for that point to the root of the problem, as well as the exact steps to take to address each of these issues and encourage the growth of your magnolia.

Why My Magnolia Tree Not Thriving: Typical Causes

Why My Magnolia Tree Not Thriving

1. Root Rot

  • Infections caused by fungi, such as root rot, are a common cause of dying Magnolia plants.
  • Some fungal Phytophthora species, including cactorum and cinnamomi, are responsible for the disease root rot, which is brought on by soil pathogens.
  • Frequently, this root rot is induced by overwatering your trees during warm months, which encourages the spread of pathogens.
  • Their foliage will droop and their stems will die when root rot extends from the base to the entire plant.
  • Avoid overwatering and let the soil get completely dry before watering it again to solve the problem.
  • To prevent the growth of pathogens, remove any debris that gathers around the tree base.

2. Leaf Scorch

  • Leaf scorch is a visual ailment that is not contagious and is brought on by adverse climatic conditions rather than fungi or bacteria.
  • This situation occurs when it is hot outside, there is no wind, or the earth is dry. Although it might not kill the tree, it might burn the leaves, causing extensive defoliation.
  • In regions where the ground freezes over, this magnolia leaf scorch frequently happens.

3. Verticillium Wilt

  • Branch death is caused by this illness, which is brought on by at least six different verticillium fungi.
  • The branches will appear red or brown, and vascular discoloration will typically be present.
  • Cut off the impacted branches and clean your shears to stop the spread.

4. Canker Diseases

  • Open wounds that have contracted bacterial or fungal infections are linked to canker illnesses.
  • The diseased region finally breaks free, frequently in the midst of severe weather conditions, when they damage branches and weaken plants.
  • Sunken patches are followed by the magnolia leaves becoming yellow or brown and starting to wilt.
  • You could lose your tree once the infection is severe, therefore you shouldn’t grow any more Magnolia trees there. However, pruning the affected branches may stop the disease from spreading.
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What Can Affect Your Magnolia Tree?

5. Too much Sun and Not enough Dampness

  • Under mild, sunny climates, magnolia trees flourish. However, too much sun exposure during a heat wave might harm your magnolia tree.
  • Different manifestations of sun damage exist. The leaves will often wilt in the sun and finally fall off the tree. The magnolia blossoms may also begin to droop and turn brown.
  • Digging up the tree and planting it elsewhere with greater shade may seem like the best option to stop future solar damage, but this is not advised.
  • Instead, think about putting down substantial trees to give shade and some relief from the sun’s harsh glare and heat.
  • Additionally, be sure to thoroughly water your tree, especially during the warmer months.
  •  To keep the tree moist for a longer period of time during the hotter weather, surround the tree with mulch or pine straw.

6. Wet, Non-Acidic Soil

  • During the warmer months, your magnolia tree does require watering, but you shouldn’t water it so frequently that the soil begins to pool.
  • The fungus may start to develop in the roots and spread up the tree if the soil is very damp.
  • Your tree can be swiftly killed by a fungus that originates in the roots, and it can spread to other trees and plants that are planted close to the afflicted tree’s roots.
  • Make careful to put your magnolia tree on sandy or loamy soil that drains properly.
  • Insufficient nutrition levels will also prevent a magnolia tree from thriving.
  • The soil should be somewhat acidic for optimal development, health, and aesthetics. When you are uncertain about the pH or micronutrients in your soil, have a professional test it.

7. Under or Over fertilizing

  • The majority of magnolia tree species are hardy, which means they don’t need a lot of maintenance to live.
  • But fertilizer is useful, particularly if you want to fortify the magnolia so that it can withstand the varying temperatures and weather patterns that occur throughout the year.
  • The best magnolia tree fertilizer is a balanced slow-release fertilizer that is applied in the spring and has an equal amount of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
  • The notion that more fertilizer is better is a widespread fallacy. This is undoubtedly incorrect as regular fertilizer applications throughout the year raise the danger of root and leaf burn.

8. Improper Pruning

  • Pruning your magnolia tree can be advantageous even when it is not necessarily essential.
  • Pruning can remove damaged leaves and branches, keeping infections and diseases from spreading further, as well as shape young trees so they grow in a beautiful way.
  • However, trimming your magnolia too much or at the incorrect time might have an impact on its appearance and development.
  • Early or late in the spring is the best time to prune young magnolia trees. The best periods to prune deciduous magnolia tree varieties are in the middle of summer or in the fall.
  • Avoid making random cuts that will put too much strain on your magnolia limbs and branches by using sharpened shears.

How to Save a Dying Magnolia Tree

How to Save a Dying Magnolia Tree

9. Pinpoint the Cause of the Problem

  • You must first identify the root of the issue in order to provide your dying Magnolia tree with the proper care.
  • Lack of leaves, dry or brittle wood, fissures in the trunk, and decayed regions are warning signs to watch out for.
  • For an exact diagnosis of the issue, you might need to speak with an arborist.
  • Certified specialists with the education and expertise to identify and properly treat tree issues are known as arborists.

10. Rectify Any Watering Issues

  • Usually, moisture or irrigation problems lead to the death of magnolia trees.
  • Excessive and otherwise underwatering could have an impact on both young and adult trees.
  • Make sure the area where your tree is planted has sufficient drainage; if the soil is wet, you will need to enhance the drainage.
  • Underwatering can do the same damage to trees that too much water does.
  • Installing an automated sprinkler setup with timers may be the most dependable workable alternative to an underwatering problem. check here for overwatering vs underwatering.
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11. Be modest Utilizing Mulch

  • Even while excessive mulching could be harmful to magnolia trees, it is still beneficial.
  • Sprinkle the mulch moderately and watch that it does not cover the bottom of your Magnolia tree.
  • Mulch should be pulled back and thinned out if required since thick layers might choke the tree’s roots. Additionally, it will delay the appearance of germs, pests, and fungal diseases.

12. Fertilize your Tree Correctly

  • Apply fertilizers carefully since they may end up hurting trees rather than helping them.
  • If using lawn fertilizer, stay away from applying them too closely to the tree by sprinkling or spraying them instead.
  • Use healthy plant material instead of sick plant material in organic magnolia fertilizers.
  • Before choosing which fertilizers to use, test the soil, and if you’re unclear about what to do, go to an arborist.

13. Prune your Tree Properly

  • To prevent further harm to your dying tree, make sure you are using suitable trimming practices.
  • To promote the development of new leaves, remove the diseased areas, and remove diseased branches to prevent the illness from spreading.
  • Use sterile pruning shears, knives, or saws to remove the diseased tree portions.
  • Consult a tree specialist to perform the pruning for you if you’re unclear about what to do.

Soil pH Affecting Thriving Of Magnolia

The pH of the soil frequently falls outside of the ideal range for magnolias.

One magnolia tree may flourish in one part of the yard while another, located nearby, may be truly struggling and not growing at all.

Stunted or no growth, as well as leaf discoloration, are indications that the pH of the soil is not in a favorable range for magnolias.

The leaves ought to be a vibrant shade of green. Magnolias prefer a pH between 5.0 and 7.0.


  • To test the pH of magnolia soil, get a soil pH testing kit from a garden supply store or online.
  • Add sulfur and organic material if the pH is too high (above 7.0).
  • pH below 5.0 can be raised by adding lime. (made from limestone).

Pests On Magnolia

Magnolia plant stems and leaves can be eaten by several insects. They may also leave behind debris when they colonize a magnolia tree.

Scales and mealybugs are typical pests on magnolia trees. Some may attach themselves to the plant and suck out the fluids, producing brown, dead, and crispy areas on the leaves.

Additionally, there was a thick, dark, crusty residue at the base of the leaves and the stems.

You may need to look pretty closely at other times to spot the bugs. An insect can spend their whole adult life crawling on a plant in vast colonies or as an individual.

They are quite simple to handle.


  • They will die if you use a cotton bud bathed in rubbing alcohol on them.
  • Douse them in neem oil (horticultural oil).
  • Trim any severely chewed-up leaves, but try to remove as few as possible.

Magnolia Tree Leaves Turning Brown and Falling off

If brown leaves on magnolia trees start to develop in the spring, there may have been frost damage. The good news is that your tree is not likely to die as a result of this frost damage.

You have the choice of choosing a planting place for your newly purchased tiny tree from the garden center that will be more likely to avoid frosts off the leaves. Such a protected area may be near your home, for instance.

If the plant is still young enough, you might even be able to cover it with a sheet or other similar covering on a night when a frost is predicted in your location.

Insufficient watering during the summer months may result in brown leaves, while strong winds are also a possibility (they dry out the foliage).

How to Prevent Dead Foliage On Magnolia

  • Soak the ground close to the plant’s root zone. When compared to air over drier ground, moist air tends to maintain a warmer temperature.
  • If you have one, place a patio heater next to the plant, but not too close so that the foliage is heated. When using such gadgets, always abide by safety guidelines in the letter.
  • To provide some protection, apply an antitranspirant to the magnolia tree’s leaves.
  • If your location is vulnerable to strong winds, plant fresh trees in a protected spot.
  • Make sure the root zone’s soil is maintained constantly wet.

Magnolia Tree Care

  • Except for broken branches or if you wish to shape the trees for aesthetic purposes, these trees don’t require much trimming.
  • Fertilizing young magnolia trees is OK, but older trees that are robust and in blossom do not require fertilization.
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How To Spot a Dying Magnolia?

When you suspect your magnolia tree might be in jeopardy, there are a couple of indications to watch out for.

  • An unhealthy or dying magnolia will typically drop more leaves than usual.
  • Your tree’s foliage will also start to change colors, starting with yellow and gradually moving to brown, before dropping off.
  • There are various warning indicators here, including brittle wood, fissures in the trunk, and patches of decay in your tree.
  • A diseased magnolia typically starts out with discolored leaves before progressing to symptoms that are more severe.

Magnolia Tree Not Blooming

  • The first thing to do when a blooming magnolia tree doesn’t bloom is to look at its hardiness zone.
  • The plant hardiness zone reveals the range of climates that your tree can withstand.
  • A magnolia planted in an area that is too cold may not perish, but it is unlikely to bloom.
  • Your next line of inquiry ought to be the growing site if the climate is not the root of your magnolia flowering problems. Although magnolias may survive in the shade, full sunlight results in the prettiest and most numerous flowers.
  • It’s feasible that the issue relates to the soil’s condition. A rich, acidic, well-drained, as well as organically enriched soil with a pH around 5.5 and 6.5, is considered excellent.

Why My Magnolia Tree has no Leaves

Its a condition where magnolia tree not growing leaves.

Trees and shrubs must expend a lot of energy to blossom, which frequently results in the plant losing part of its leaves.

Just before blossoming, magnolias are infamous for losing their leaves. When several leaves appear to fall at once, it is especially evident on evergreen trees that produce huge, messy leaves.

Why My Magnolia Tree Not Thriving

Q: Is A Lot Of Water Required For Magnolia Trees?

Magnolias are low-maintenance trees that don’t need much irrigation, regardless of their size.

Q: Do Magnolia Trees Like Coffee Grounds?

Nitrogen is abundant in coffee grounds, and as you may already be aware, magnolia plants like nitrogen.

Q: How Can You Tell If A Magnolia Tree Is Overwatered?

Incredibly delicate or easily breakable leaves.

Q: How do you revive a dying magnolia tree?

In order to save a dying magnolia tree, you must first determine what is causing it stress.

The tree needs to be protected from pests and diseases, given the correct amount of water, and placed in an area with plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil.

If you want an in-depth diagnosis and treatment plan, an arborist is someone you should talk to.

Q: Is Epsom salt good for magnolia?

Because magnesium is an integral part of chlorophyll, which is required for photosynthesis, Epsom salt (also known as magnesium sulphate) can be useful for magnolias.

If the tree’s leaves are turning yellow due to magnesium insufficiency, this may be helpful.

However, it is crucial to make sure that the tree’s problems are caused by a magnesium deficiency before using Epsom salt, as excessive use can lead to nutrient imbalances in the soil.

Q: Is Cow Manure Good For Magnolia Trees?

Cow manure, which improves soil quality and contains important minerals, can be used as an organic fertiliser for magnolia plants.

However, it needs to be thoroughly decayed before being used.

Roots can be damaged or disease introduced if you use fresh manure.

Q: magnolia tree dead branches

The health and beauty of a magnolia tree depend on regular removal of diseased and damaged branches.

Stubs left after pruning can invite disease and pests, so be careful to cut away from the swelling area where the branch joins the stem.

Q: magnolia buds not opening

Several factors, including as lack of water, too much shade, late frosts, or pests and diseases, might prevent magnolia bud opening.

Make sure your tree is getting the best care possible, and if the issue persists, you might want to talk to an arborist or extension service in your area.


By accurately identifying the issue to assure the right course of action, you may save your dying Magnolia tree.

In order to aid the tree in recovering its health, make sure you are also providing the best circumstances for its general vitality.